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New Reliant City YMCA

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We're Opening a YMCA at Reliant City!

Gallery Furniture and the YMCA of Greater Houston Team Up to Help Hurricane Victims

Houston, TX. In an effort to serve the thousands of individuals, children and families housed in the Astrodome and nearby Reliant Center, the YMCA of Greater Houston is opening a YMCA on-site at Reliant City.

"The YMCA is about family, serving people, and being there in good times and in bad, said Clark Baker, YMCA of Greater Houston President and CEO. "This is part of our mission."

Located under massive tents in the parking lot on Reliant Center's east side, the area housing the Gallery Furniture YMCA has been dubbed, "Town Square," and hosts several venues for fun, games and social activities, including: basketball hoops, video games, inflatable slides and bouncing rooms, a playground, board and card games and more. Town Square has been divided into specific areas based on age-appropriate activities.

Funded through generous donations made by Gallery Furniture, Town Square has been created to provide hurricane victims a physical and psychological break from the shelter of the Astrodome or Reliant Center.

"We cannot begin to understand the depths of emotion or the losses that have been suffered by the hurricane victims," Baker said. "Many of these families will not be able to return home for months if ever, and we want to be able to provide children and families with an escape from their tragedy, even if it is only temporary."

YMCAs have a long-standing commitment of reaching out to serve people far from home and in their time of direst need. Stemming from service work to soldiers during the Civil War and World War I, the World War II era featured new lengths to soothe the human spirit with compassion and tenderness. In addition to assisting in the development of the USO, during World War II, the National Council of YMCAs (now the YMCA of the USA) joined with YMCAs around the world to assist some 6 million prisoners-of-war in 36 nations. Ys worked with displaced persons and refugees as well, and sent both workers and money abroad after the war to help rebuild damaged YMCA buildings.

YMCAs also worked with the 10 internment camps set up in 1942 to hold the 110,000 Japanese Americans held during the war. The bulk of the Y's work consisted of clubs and camping for boys in the camps. In the words of David M. Tatsuno, an internee and former member of the Japanese Y in San Francisco: "The Y never forgot us."

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More recently, YMCAs have responded in times of national tragedy and disaster. In the days and weeks following the events of September 11, 2001, the YMCAs of Greater New York and Metropolitan Washington provided housing, respite, grief counseling, and emergency child care for emergency workers, stranded tourists and hospital staff, while coordinating blood donation and other relief efforts of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, with an outpouring of support, funding, and volunteers from YMCAs across the country.

Today in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, Mobile and throughout the United States, YMCAs are working diligently to tend to those affected, to support and to distribute durable goods, volunteer manpower and financial backing to the YMCAs on the ground working to rebuild the spirits, minds and bodies of the kids, families and communities impacted.

"Our mission in our communities can be summed up in the Y's core values-caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and faith," said Clark Baker, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston. "In serving our neighbors in need, we all must be honest with ourselves and understand that we have a shared responsibility to care for and comfort our fellow Americans-our fellow human beings-and help them restore their faith and live with the dignity and respect they deserve."

Employees from more than 30 Houston-area YMCAs will staff the Gallery Furniture YMCA and the entire Town Square complex on a volunteer basis, from 9am to 7pm daily while the need for shelter at the Astrodome and Reliant Center exists. Town Square and the Gallery Furniture

YMCA will open today at 5pm.

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